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House of Commons’ Disadvantaged DJs will be Safe From Harm (interview)

Reported by Joshua [Trackitdown] on July 10, 2012

Jim McNulty from ‘Last Night A DJ Saved My Life’ chatted to Skrufff this week about the charity foundation’s upcoming DJ competition House the House and insisted the ‘disadvantaged youth’ it’s aimed at have nothing to fear from Parliament’s historic Westminster headquarters.

The Commons has become notorious for its uber-cheap pubs where politicians can get violently drunk such as Labour's Eric Joyce who was charged with three counts of common assault in February after attacking 7 people. 

The 50 something thug went berserk in the Commons’ Strangers Bar, head-butting Conservatives, apparently randomly in a fit of drunken rage.

‘It was horrific and shocking, there were tables overturned and drinks smashed everywhere. There was blood everywhere,” an eye-witness reported, ”You would expect this on a lads holiday in Faliraki, but not in the Mother of Parliaments.”

Four months on Joyce has resigned from Labour though remains a sitting MP, but Jim McNulty promised House The House guests will be safe.

“They will all be over 16 and I am sure they will be able to protect themselves,” he said. “And with TV cameras on site I would very much doubt that the MPs will choose that as a moment to start performing.” 

Brawling MPs aside, House the House is a serious competition (with cross-parliamentary MP support) which is inviting aspiring DJs aged between 16 and 25 to compete via Mixcloud and then 11 regional heats to win a DJ set at the Terrace Bar in March. 

The event will be the first such party to take place in the Commons with the winner also being offered a DJ slot at We Love @ Space Ibiza next year.  (Click here for more details:

Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): What prompted the idea of using the House of Commons for a party? 

House the House (Jim McNulty): “After being invited to a meeting with MP Mike Weatherley, which was all about a competition called Rock The House which resulted in the winning band playing a rock concert at the House Of Commons Jonny (Jonny Lee- also from Last Night A DJ Saved My Life Foundation) suggested they do it for DJs through the charity and call it House the House. The idea was taken seriously and 9 months later on Jan17th the government gave it the green light.”

Skrufff: What were some of the key obstacles you faced in pulling it off? 

House the House (Jim McNulty): “The biggest obstacle was putting something of this scale into action with no finances in place. Five months on, following so many kind donations and offers of help, we’ve managed to tackle every issue.”

Skrufff: The press release says the competition is for ‘disadvantaged youth’, what criteria are used to determine if a youth is ‘disadvantaged’?

House the House (Jim McNulty): “The competition is not just aimed at those described as disadvantaged it is open to everyone, we are certainly reaching out via local youth groups to make sure the message gets out to all young people including those who are described as disadvantaged. We feel by giving young people a positive in their lives through music it can give them a good focus to feel better about themselves and those around them.” 

Skrufff: The press release says you will be ‘requiring entrants to provide a number of hours voluntary work in a music related community project’: how does that work exactly? 

House the House (Jim McNulty): “Firstly the young people will register with Vinspired which is a huge voluntary online database, from there we will be able to then get in touch with them in their various regions and provide them with the specific music based community projects which we have identified in the 12 cities.

In order for them to be able to be placed in any one of the heats they must have completed their voluntary work before they start in October. They will also be able to join in and play a part in hosting the heat in their city, whilst being mentored by industry professionals in many aspects of event production.” 

Skrufff: The release also says ‘the winner will get the chance to play a DJ set in the House of Commons terrace bar on 6th March 2013’; sounds like a rather odd prize; what’s the specific venue like and what kind of audience will you be expecting? 

House the House (Jim McNulty): “The venue is on the side of the House of Commons terrace, and consists of a number of marquee-like spaces which are permanently fixed. We will be transforming these using a production company called Honest Entertainment to make the space into more of a club.  

We only have permission for 200 people to attend that gig, therefore our aims are to host a number of boat parties down the Thames and House the House fundraising club nights across the country in celebration for dance music and how far it has come in 25 years. We will also be looking to broadcast the live sets into some of those venues live from the House of Commons. Other artists and musicians will also be taking part in those events which will be confirmed in the coming months. All in all it will certainly be a historic event and one which will deliver a very important message of "Music for Change".

Skrufff: Anything else to add?

House the House (Jim McNulty): “We are seeing the House the House competition as a vehicle which can get across many educational messages which we feel the youth need to know. Tony Andrews from Funktion One will be delivering a message regarding the importance of quality sound, he firmly believes MP3s should be banned as they are taking the harmonics out of music which is the part of music which has the most profound effect on us all.  

DJs also need to respect musicians more and wherever possible join forces whether in production or live performances. We will have a large number of musicians joining in along the way improvising over the top of music to raise the awareness of the important of live musicians.” (Ukraine) (Pakistani politicians in action)

Jonty Skrufff: